What’s Behind Stagefright?

As the article says, stagefright has not been extensively studied despite affecting nearly everyone to some degree. Including some famous people you wouldn’t imagine.

I have feared speaking in front of an audience since I can remember. In grade school I would simply accept a failing grade rather than go in front of the class. I did better in high school and college but still hated it. At work, I avoid it whenever possible. But it never goes away. Since I practice karate I have to be evaluated from time to time and I fall apart, losing track of katas I know down pat. I play guitar but almost never with anyone but my teacher and maybe one of his other students.

Here’s a perfect example of how it affects me. A few years back a friend, who is active in the local music scene, organized a jam session at a local place and invited a bunch of players he knew which included me. I hesitated but I did eventually pack up my guitar and headed down. I was scheduled to go up on stage a bit late so I had the opportunity to observe the others. It was obvious I was the only one with no stage or band experience. The guitarist up before me had just led a long jazz funk fusion number when I was called up. But I realized that I was both way in over my head and scared to death. I made a lame excuse about it being late and having to go to work in the morning, packed my guitar and ran from the building.

I’m a grown man with over 30 years as a volunteer firefighter. I walked into burning buildings and pried broken cars apart to free people and yet I ran from the opportunity to play guitar on stage. That, my friends, is how powerful stagefright can be.

FCC has already gotten 2,000 “net neutrality” complaints

FCC has opened the floodgates to complaints over net neutrality, unfortunately most of them are over data caps and slow service. Maybe the FCC should focus on encouraging competition, which as the Google Fiber rollout shows us, actually works at addressing these issues. Oh, and maybe stopping the industry efforts at squashing municipal broadband.

Everything you think you know about Bob Dylan at Newport is wrong (more or less)

You’ve heard the stories about what happened at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when Bob Dylan “went electric”, boos, things thrown at the stage, Pete Seeger grabbing an ax. But how much of the legend is true? Writer Elijah Wald went through Newport’s archives of tape and film and produced Bob Dylan at Newport: Dylan Goes Electric which cuts through the legend and presents what really happened. Spoiler: It’s not what you think.

Vulnerability allows attackers to remotely kill a Jeep on the road

Two hackers have found a vulnerability that allows them to completely control a Jeep Cherokee while it’s traveling on the road. And when I say completely, I mean not just the radio, the AC and the wipers but also the steering, brakes and transmission.

It’s because the internal control network for the vehicle is connected to the same network as the entertainment system and they’re both connected to the cellular network. And Jeep isn’t alone in this, other “connected cars” may also be vulnerable .

Fiat Chrysler, which makes Jeep, issued a patch on July 16th that must be manually installed. Other manufacturers are also slowly awakening to the need to pay attention to security in their vehicles. As I always say, if you can get access anyone can get access. That applies to your computer, your home and (now) your car.

Will the White House disappoint on H-1B displacements?

It’s taken far too long, but at least the White House has begun to notice the large number of IT workers being laid off in order to hire H-1B replacements. The only question is whether they will actually do anything about it or just punt to Congress.

Based on what the DHS Secretary (carefully) stated, it just may be that such uses are legal as the law is currently written which implies that only Congress can act at this point by changing the law to fit with its original intent. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Google brings new tools to fight patent trolls

Inventors often find themselves victimized by patent trolls with more money to pay lawyers and a patent system that is incapable of dealing with new technology. So now Google has launched an update to its search engine for patents and intellectual property that will find older patents that may cover their inventions, along with papers, books and other research that address the same thing.

It’s not quite the same a patent reform, but while we’re stuck with the present system it’s at least giving inventors a weapon that they’ve previously lacked.

What Does Harper Lee Want?

I have had nothing but suspicions since Go Set a Watchman was “discovered”. Every bit of the story sounds like it’s been fabricated by Ms. Lee’s lawyer in order to cash in on her famous client. So it’s appropriate to ask What Does Harper Lee Want? even though it’s unlikely Ms. Lee even knows herself let alone is able to answer.

Setting aside those misgivings, it helpful to remember that Watchman was a first novel that was rejected by a publisher who told Ms. Lee to go back and write the novel that became Mockingbird. Would she have even written Watchman had it instead been a true sequel, written afterwards? We’ll never know, but perhaps there’s a reason some of the characters were changed so much.